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This is one of those relatively rare albums that I cannot find a single fault with. I am relatively easy to please, and I always judge albums by their aim and in their achieving their aim, but this album I can judge next to other albums, or even alone by itself as being a momentous achievement in metal history. It has been named Incantation’s best, and it is a statement that is very hard to refute. Every song is a classic. Every riff is killer. Not a single moment of this album can be categorized as ‘filler’ material, all of it is absolutely stunning and will hold your attention. The guitars are basically black metal guitars that do not sound shitty and have been tuned down a bit, but still they retain some fuzz and some raw, harsh sounding overtones. The bass is nicely layered into the guitar work. The drums stand out as totally different and are easy to listen to, and the vocals are deep, not so gurgly as just pure Craig Pillard driven insanity, surprisingly not delivered by Craig. But this guy does just as good a job, even if his voice is a little bit different then the original, and judging from the vocal patterns, intended singer. And of course they still stayed with the sound of the old school American vein of death metal, sounding like a more polished version of bands such as Goreaphobia, Immolation, and Rottrevore with a touch of doomishness in the vein of Winter. The classic Incantation sound to which they have stayed true to even to this day. The riffs are a little bit black metal, a little bit doom, and a whole hell of a lot of blasphemous death metal riffage that weighs somewhere around 10, 000 tons!
I am almost compelled to go through each track one at a time and comment on how incredibly awesome all of them are and point out all of the awesome riffs in all of these songs. I am going to pick four, because of their weirdness and as they stand out even on such an album as this where there are, as I have mentioned, no fillers what so ever. The opening track has some of the most solid wall-to-wall riffage off of any Incantation song, which is saying a lot. There is a black metal riff that they bust out, and there is a slow section with double bass pumping some mid-tempo parts under the slow ass riffing. The vocals under the black metal riff make my hairs stand on end. The vocals elsewhere in the song sound like death it’s fucking self.
The instrumental track entitled ‘Unheavenly Skies’ is best noted for the awesome riff in it, it does just consist of variations on this one melody, but the melody itself captures the very essence of death/doom metal. It is melancholy yet not graceful, it is an ugly ass, misanthropic riff, yet brooding and could be categorized as ‘melodic’. The switches in it are very nice and the entire song swallows up your brain.
The next track, which is probably my favorite is ‘Shadows of the Ancient Empire’. This track has rhythmic switches in the beginning and this dense mid-tempo riff which is interspersed with a quicker riff, which has the quality of a prophetic seizure. That riff sounds like the march of the living dead to me, that is always the riff I imagine that happening to. The rest of the song goes on to some awesome mid-tempo chug-chug, and also great double bass parts and some big heavy open chord smash riffing as well.
The last track on the album is sixteen minutes long, and then some. It is fucking retarded. It starts off as a doom track, purely, and then goes on to bring in some layered black metal guitar work, coupled with some pretty technical brakes form the riff itself, and then snapping right back into the doomish feeling vibe, and then when your mind has been put to ease, Incantation bust out one of the fastest riffs on their album!
Some really potent stuff, I highly recommend it. I do believe it to be perhaps their best, but if not, then certainly their catchiest material to date. An absolute classic which does not disappoint, and also will make you shit bricks.